Ahead of the 2017 assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday held the first of the proposed 40 rallies across the state under its 'Punjab Jodo Abhiyan' (join Punjab mission). The rallies are to be held within a month. Wednesday's rally was attended by around 5,000 people from the district.
Sangrur member of Parliament (MP) Bhagwant Mann, Punjab affairs
in-charge Sanjay Singh and Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur also attended the meet. Two suspended MPs Dharamvira Gandhi (Patiala) and Harinder Singh Khalsa (Fatehgarh Sahib) stayed away. Faridkot MP Sadhu Singh was conspicuous by his absence.
"The Badal government is unique because it works only for itself and to meet its vested interests. You name any business, Badals will be found having having an interest it and having a share holding," Bhagwant Mann claimed, while addressing the gathering.
A cross-section of people who attended the rally told HT that they would not repeat the mistake of last elections and would vote against the incumbent government.
Political analysts feel that even though SAD leaders are not paying attention to the AAP, there are undercurrents that prove that the Congress is in the process of drawing up a strategy for the 2017 elections. They claim that All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Shakeel Ahmad had defended the rallies being organized by Captain Amarinder Singh, across the state in the run up to the 2017 polls, while addressing a rally in Sangrur on Tuesday.
Amarinder is also scheduled to hold a rally in Dirba on Friday.
"There are apprehensions that the AAP is making inroads into the vote banks of both the SAD and the Congress," say analysts, reiterating the off-repeated allegation that the state's youth is getting into drugs as Akali leaders are into the business of selling drugs and also shield drug peddlers.
"From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, there are only 50-odd families who are running the country for their own business interests. AAP is opposed to dynasty rule and only one person from a family would get a ticket to contest. AAP will sweep out the SAD-BJP government in the 2017 elections by winning all the 117 seats. He also urged the gathering to support, vote and elect AAP candidates and get rid of this corrupt government," said Sanjay Singh.
Punjab convener, Sucha Singh Chotepur said, "Akalis have ruled the state for 22 years and the Congress for 40 years. Yet, the sufferings of the common man persist."
"Give the AAP a chance to serve you and there will be a change. The SAD has turned into 'SAD Pvt Ltd Company', whose leaders are using the 'Panth' to remain in power," Chotepur added.